Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2015 Draft Spotlight: Matt Spencer

 One of the top defencemen available in the Class of 2015 made an appearance on TPS recently. Peterborough Pete's rearguard Matthew Spencer, or Matt as he prefers, was featured in our Draft Spotlight segment in November. 

The 3rd overall pick by the Pete's in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection, Spencer is now in the middle of his second OHL campaign. After a 15-point rookie season, the Guelph native is closing in on setting new career highs already this year. 

If you missed Matt's appearance on the show, we have it for you after the jump. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2015 Draft Spotlight: Jack Eichel

BU Terriers phenom Jack Eichel was our guest in the 2015 Draft Spotlight segment last night on The Pipeline Show. His timely, and lengthy, appearance on the show completed the trifecta following similar guest spots by the other consensus top-3 for 2015; Connor McDavid and Noah Hanifin

The Eichel interview was purposely timed to coincide with the release of USA Hockey's WJC camp roster of which he was prominently headlining. We spent a few minutes discussing that tournament and if the New Year's meeting between USA and Canada, and therefore Eichel vs McDavid, holds the same meaning for him as it does for most everyone else.

Of course we discussed the draft, how important going #1 overall is to him, his amazing start to the season at Boston University and the standard questions we put to all players during this regular segment.  What about the recent rumors that he's considering a return to BU for a sophomore season?

We also wanted to know, being a Massachusetts product, playing in Massachusetts as a kid and now as a collegian, how he views the probability of playing much further away from his familiar surroundings. Certainly that's a question many fans of cellar dwelling teams wanted us to ask and so we did, and he answered. 

If you missed the interview live, no worries, we have it conveniently set up for you after the jump. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

2015 Draft Blog: Luke Orysiuk Pt.1

Our next guest player/writer has submitted his first entry to his 2015 Draft Blog. Following in the footsteps of Joe Colborne who blogged with us while a member of the AJHL's Camrose Kodiaks, Luke Orysiuk introduces himself today to our audience. 

The 17-year-old defenceman skates with the Drayton Valley Thunder and is in his second Alberta Junior Hockey League season. The Edmonton native has both WHL and NCAA options down the path to professional hockey. 

After the jump, the first installment of the Draft Season Blog from Luke Orysiuk.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2015 Draft Spotlight: Daniel Sprong

Recently om TPS we featured a hockey pioneer from Holland looking to be just the second player from the Netherlands to play in the NHL. Charlottetown Islanders import forward Daniel Sprong was out guest in the 2015 Draft Spotlight on Saturday. 

According to Hockey Reference, Ed Kea is considered the only NHL player who held a passport from the Netherlands. Daniel Sprong is looking to be the first for a new generation and a further example of hockey's growing footprint on the international stage. 

Although, to be fair, Sprong may not yet hold Canadian citzenship but he's been in the country for a decade and is just waiting for the paperwork the get done. To this point in his career Sprong has not represented either Holland or Canada in international play but for all intents and purposes, when it comes to hockey, he will be considered Canadian. 

If you missed the conversation with the talented forward, no problem because we have it for you right after the jump. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2015 Draft Spotlight: Jeremy Bracco

One of the most prolific point producers in the Class of 2015 was featured in our Draft Spotlight last night on The Pipeline Show. I'm referring to Jeremy Bracco from the U18 squad of the US National Team Development Program (US-NTDP). 

Through 19 games this season Bracco has racked up 37 points and leads the U18 team in scoring. Bracco joined us a couple of days after he and team USA returned home from Sweden victorious from the Four Nations tournament. We spoke with him about the event. 

We also asked the forward which competition he prefers playing against: the international teams, USHL squads or the older NCAA programs. His answer was interesting. 

We covered a lot of bases when it comes to the 2015 NHL Draft and also asked the question a lot of Boston College fans were hoping we would. 

Bracco de-committed from his plans to go to Harvard and is now steering in the direction of Boston College. However, the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League currently hold his CHL rights and that is a team that has had a lot of success in the past with bringing American players across the border.

Considering the eerily similar traits to Sonny Milano last summer, another player who stepped back from one college commitment to pledge allegiance to Boston College only to leave for the OHL late in August, we wanted to know exactly how Bracco was leaning about his future. He made it crystal clear what his intentions are. 

If you missed the interview live, no worries, we have it for you after the jump. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

WHL Rumor Mill Heating Up

The Tri-City Americans acquired veteran import Richard Nejezchleb on Tuesday morning and that seems to have stirred up the trade market as teams begin establishing themselves as buyers or sellers. 

In the wake of the deal has come news that another veteran player, Calgary's Greg Chase, has been sent home to await a deal after requesting a trade. And his name to the list of Medicine Hat defenceman Connor Hobbs and Dakota Conroy of Prince Albert who are at home waiting for new teams.

On top of those players, speculation and rumors have other WHL stars potentially on the market. 

I'll tell you what I know and the speculation that has come my way after the jump. 

2015 Draft Spotlight: Kyle Connor

Recently on The Pipeline Show we featured the top rated USHL player available for the 2015 NHL Draft, Kyle Connor of the Youngstown Phantoms. The Michigan native is now in his third season with the Phantoms and is living up to expectations of league dominance. 

Connor, a 6'1 and 180 lb forward, was given an 'A' rating at the start of the year by NHL Central Scouting. With a league high 15 points (at the time of our interview), he's done nothing to suggest that he wasn't deserving of such acclaim and hype. 

If you missed the interview with Kyle Connor this past Saturday, that's not a problem; we have it for you after the jump. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2015 Draft Spotlight: Brandon Carlo

Last night on TPS we introduced listeners to a hulking defenceman with 1st round potential. Brandon Carlo of the WHL's Tri-City Americans was in our 2015 Draft Spotlight segment and was a terrific interview. 

If you missed it live, no worries, we have it for you right after the jump. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

2015 Draft Blog: Matteo Gennaro Pt.1

The WHL crop of players that make up the 2015 NHL draft class is a strong one. There are a lot of skilled forwards, tough defencemen and quality netminders from the Western League that NHL clubs will have a chance to add to their organizations.

Earlier this week our audience was introduced to Red Deer Rebels forward Grayson Pawlenchuk. 

Today, another Edmonton area product has submitted his first entry to his season long draft blog. St.Albert native Matteo Gennaro of the Prince Albert Raiders is now in year two of his WHL career and took the time to introduce himself. His blog is after the jump. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

CHL on the Legal Hot Seat

The Canadian Hockey League is facing a pair of lawsuits that could forever change the face of major junior hockey as we know it. 

As written up by Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star, The CHL is facing a class action lawsuit:
An unprecedented class action lawsuit striking at the economic foundations of junior hockey in Canada alleges the Canadian Hockey League and its teams “conspired” to force young players into signing contracts that breach minimum wage laws.
A statement of claim filed in a Toronto court Friday and obtained by the Star, seeks $180 million in outstanding wages, vacation, holiday and overtime pay and employer payroll contributions for thousands of young players given as little as $35 a week for practices, games, training and travelling that could add up to more than full-time hours.
The league and its teams “conspired and agreed together . . . to act in concert to demand or require that all players sign a contract which the defendants knew was unlawful,” the claim alleges. “Such conduct was high-handed, outrageous, reckless, wanton, deliberate, callous, disgraceful, wilful and in complete disregard for the rights of the (players).”
The second lawsuit comes from a former CHL goalie named John Chartrand who appeared in 61 OHL games over the course of three season. As detailed by TSN's Rick Westhead, Chartrand is seeking $12M from the OHL's Barrie Colts for whom he played his first 16 OHL games for from 2009-2011.
John Chartrand is suing his former team for $12 million, alleging in court documents that Colts medical and team officials cleared him to play in games mere days after he was in a violent car accident that required him to be hospitalized.
I highly recommend reading both stories before proceeding with the rest of this blog entry.

Yesterday on The Pipeline Show, Dean Millard and I invited TSN Legal Analyst Eric Macramalla to come on an go through the lawsuits from his expert perspective.  We wanted to know if either case will stand up and if so, what the ramifications for Major Junior hockey and beyond might be. Certainly the CHL won't be the only level of competitive hockey affected and is it possible that other team sports might fall under the same umbrella should players moving forward be classified as "employees"?

That's after the jump. 

2015 Draft Spotlight: Mathew Barzal

Last night on The Pipeline Show we welcomed the top ranked 2015 eligible player from the WHL to the show as our Draft Spotlight feature; Seattle Thunderbirds forward Mathew Barzal. 

The Vancouver native discussed the parallels of his career to that of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the reasons it took a year for him to sign with Seattle, the pressures of being the 1st overall pick of a franchise that hasn't tasted success in years and of course we covered the 2015 NHL Draft. 

Barzal was an excellent interview, one of the best in recent memory of players put in the Draft Spotlight on our show. In particular, his answers about the upcoming NHL draft and whether he feels "lost in the shuffle" while the hype is all about Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.    

Our exclusive interview with Mathew Barzal from The Pipeline Show comes after the jump. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

2015 Draft Blog: Grayson Pawlenchuk Pt.1

Our tradition of having draft eligible players appear as guest bloggers continues for 2015. We've spoken with a few players already who have verbally agreed to penning their thoughts with us throughout the 2014-15 season and the first guest blog came in this weekend. 

The Red Deer Rebels will be a must-see team this year for NHL scouts because the club boasts four players who were rated on the early season Preliminary List from NHL Central Scouting. We're thrilled to announce today that one of those players has come on board as one of our guest bloggers this year. 

Grayson Pawlenchuk hails from just outside of Edmonton and was an "In Studio" guest this past July with a couple of other local WHLers who are now in their NHL draft season. After meeting and speaking with the Rebels forward that day, it was obvious that he was a player who we wanted to extend the invitation to. 

After the jump, the first entry this season from Red Deer Rebels forward Grayson Pawlenchuk.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

2015 Draft spotlight: Lawson Crouse

This weekend on The Pipeline Show in our regular Draft Spotlight segment we had the chance to introduce fans to a top power forward in the Class of 2015. Lawson Crouse is in his second year with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL and he appeared on the show Saturday after a 6-4 defeat of the Plymouth Whalers the night before.

Our conversation with Lawson Crouse is after the jump.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2015 Draft Spotlight: Noah Hanifin

A regular feature on The Pipeline Show is our Draft Spotlight segment where we introduce hockey fans at large to a player they should know ahead of the next NHL Draft. Last night our guest was the consensus top ranked defenceman available in the Class of 2015, Noah Hanifin. 

The freshman at Boston College spoke at length with us about a variety of topics including why playing for the Eagles was the right NCAA choice. Also, how much of a temptation playing for a Memorial Cup with the Quebec Remparts.

That and much, much more after the jump. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Is Nurse What the Doctor Ordered for Edmonton?


Tuesday night on The Pipeline Show, Dean Millard and I had a chance to welcome Soo Greyhounds defenceman Darnell Nurse back to the program. Of course we had talked to him during his draft year but it was good to catch up and see how he's viewing the coming season. 

During the course of our conversation we discussed the recent Young Stars tournament held in Penticton and how he felt about the way he played and just the general vibe amongst the Oilers prospects compared to last year. 

As it was on Tuesday evening, we also teed up the annual Oilers rookies VS UofA Golden Bears game. Nurse gave us his thoughts on that contest and told us what goes on between players on the ice that fans don't necessarily know about. 

We also touched on his situation with the Soo Greyhounds and the outlook for that club this year. While we were discussing his OHL club team, we touched on the leaving of former GM Kyle Dubas and what he meant to Nurse's career. 

The topic of hockey analytics came up and we asked Nurse how much stock he puts into them from his perspective as a player. 

All of that and more, after the jump...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2015 Draft Spotlight: Connor McDavid

Photo: Terry Wilson / OHL Images
One of the most popular segments on The Pipeline Show returned in grand fashion on Tuesday night. The probable 1st overall selection in next June's draft, Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters, was the first player to be featured in the 2015 Draft Spotlight. 

The Draft Spotlight is one of six segments on nearly every episode of The Pipeline Show during the hockey season. We like to introduce casual hockey fans to the next wave of future NHL stars and we take this segment in particular to do that.

The Pipeline Show is now well into its 10th season on the air and we're looking forward to another fantastic year. If you have requests for specific players that you think deserve to be in our Draft Spotlight, let us know in the comments section below. 

After the jump, our Draft Spotlight feature on Connor McDavid. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2014-15 WHL Preview Show

Tuesday night, Dean and I were fortunate to be joined by the voices of the Red Deer Rebels and Edmonton Oil Kings to preview the Western Hockey League. Cam Moon drove up from Central Alberta and Corey Graham trekked all the way from downtown Edmonton to the west end to sit in studio with us as we broke down all four divisions and more. 

After the jump, the links to the audio plus the summary of our predictions as we go on permanent record.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Three's a Crowd

The Edmonton Oil Kings will have plenty of tough decisions to make over the next month as they try to assemble a team capable of making Memorial Cup defence.  GM Randy Hansch and head coach Steve Hamilton need to replace 7 members of that championship team, maybe 9, and a plethora of would-be rookies are vying for their attention as we speak.

One of the toughest choices the organization will have to make will be with the import department. Edgars Kulda and Mads Eller are forwards who would be welcomed back by the club and defenceman Marsel Ibragimov was just added at the end of June. 

However, CHL regulations state that a team can only have two imports on their roster so the Oil Kings could be facing a scenario that they really don't want to. 

After the jump, all of the possible outcomes.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The PIPE-ies: Top Story

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, Tuesday night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and the voting for the winners has begun.

This is a category with a wide range in scope as some are feel good, uplifting moments while others are downright scary and much more serious.
After the jump, the names of the nominees in the category of Top Story from 2013-14.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The PIPE-ies: Top Arena Atmosphere

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, Tuesday night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and the voting for the winners has begun.

This is a category most of us will have to bid on via reputation as not many have been able to see games in every venue in the running.
After the jump, the names of the nominees in the category of Top Arena Atmosphere during 2013-14. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The PIPE-ies: Top Single Game Performance

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, last night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and now the voting for the winners can begin.

After the jump, the names of the nominees in the category of Top Single Game Performance during 2013-14. There are some absolute beauties in contention, we'll tell you what they are and why they are worthy of consideration.

The PIPE-ies: Top Team

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, last night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and now the voting for the winners can begin.

After the jump, the names of the nominees in the category of Top Rookie during 2013-14 in their respective league and why they are worthy of consideration.

The PIPE-ies: Top Coach

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, last night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and now the voting for the winners can begin.

After the jump, the names of the nominees in the category of Top Coach during 2013-14 in their respective league and why they are worthy of consideration.

The PIPE-ies: Top Rookie

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, last night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and now the voting for the winners can begin.

After the jump, the names of the nominees in the category of Top Rookie during 2013-14 in their respective league and why they are worthy of consideration.

The PIPE-ies: Top Agitator

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, last night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and now the voting for the winners can begin.

After the jump, the names of the nominees in the category of Top Agitator in 2013-14 and why they made they are worthy of consideration. 

The PIPE-ies: Top Goalie

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, last night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and now the voting for the winners can begin.

The 5 nominees for Top Goaltender in 2013-14 comes after the jump as does information on how you can vote for your choice.

The PIPE-ies: Top Defenceman

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, last night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and now the voting for the winners can begin.

After the jump, the names of the nominees in the category of Top Defenceman for 2013-14 and why they made the list of finalists. 

The PIPE-ies: Top Forward

After a week of collecting nominations from our audience and media colleagues, last night on TPS we made it official. The nominees in all 10 categories were announced and now the voting for the winners can begin.

After the jump, the names of the Top Forward candidates and why they deserve your consideration.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Top 5 Impending NCAA Free Agents

Every summer some notable NCAA players hit the free agency market despite having already been drafted. NHL clubs have until August 15th to sign NCAA seniors that they selected in earlier drafts and as usual, there are a few players that should garner attention later this week. 

This coming Friday, upwards of 20 players will have the ability to entertain multiple offers and sign with whichever NHL club they so desire. After the jump, I'll spotlight the top 5 who look like they'll have that opportunity. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

1st Annual TPS Awards Show

Long talked about, we've finally decided to create a new special edition of TPS. On Tuesday, August 19th, we will present our 1st annual "TPS Awards Show".

I'm not sure what we're going to call them; "The Pipe-ies"... "The Pipes"... we're open to ideas so feel free to tell us what you think in the comments section. We're also wanting your input into who will contend for each category. 

Next Tuesday we'll announce the nominees in each of the 10 categories.  After the jump I'll reveal the categories themselves and a few examples.

Monday, July 7, 2014

New Bench Boss For Oil Kings

The 2014 Memorial Cup Champion Edmonton Oil Kings will name their new head coach on Monday and barring a massive surprise it will be Steve Hamilton. 

Hamilton, who has served as the team's Assistant and then Associate Head Coach since 2010-11, will be Edmonton's third bench boss since returning to the league in 2007-08. 

Edmonton's record under the tutelage of the Laxdal/Hamilton combination is an impressive 182-83-22 over those four years. In that time span, the Oil Kings have enjoyed three consecutive 50-win seasons, three straight WHL Eastern Conference titles, a pair of WHL Championships and are now the defending Memorial Cup Champions.

After the jump, some thoughts on the expected promotion from me and comments from some current and past players as well.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Millard Mock Draft

The NHL draft is today in Philadelphia and Guy Flaming and I will have you covered on TSN 1260.  Along with Dustin Nielson on the ground in Philly and with Jason Gregor and Jason Strudwick in Edmonton we'll break down all the picks in the opening round starting at 5 pm.  

You can also count on plenty of draft talk Saturday June 28th on TSN 1260 with The Pipeline Show at 10 am, Saturday Sports Extra at noon, you'll get your draft fix from both shows.  Before I lay out my top 30 and mock draft I have to preface a few things.  I haven't included trades of which i think there will be a few.  I think the Flyers will move up, possibly into a top 5 spot.  Vancouver has been rumoured to be flirting with Florida for the first pick to be able to snag Sam Reinhart and with so many veteran centres rumoured to be on the trade block who knows what picks might be thrown in.

1.   Florida Panthers- Aaron Ekblad
2.   Buffalo Sabres– Sam Reinhart
3.   Edmonton Oilers- Leon Draisaitl
4.   Calgary Flames- Sam Bennett
5.   New York Islanders- Michael Dal Colle
6.   Vancouver Canucks - William Nylander
7.   Carolina Hurricanes - Nicholas Ritchie
8.   Toronto Maple Leafs - Brendan Perlini
9.   Winnipeg Jets - Nikolaj Ehlers
10. Anaheim Ducks (From Ottawa) Robbi Fabbri
11. Nashville Predators - Jake Virtanen
12. Phoenix Coyotes - Haydyn Fleury
13. Washington Capitals - Alex Tuch
14. Dallas Stars - Kasperi Kapanen
15. Detroit Red Wings - Sonny Milano
16. Columbus Blue Jackets - Jared McCann
17. Philadelphia Flyers - Dylan Larkin
18. Minnesota Wild - Ivan Barbashev
19. Tampa Bay Lightning - Josh Ho-Sang
20. San Jose Sharks - Kevin Fiala
21. St. Louis Blues - Adrian Kempe
22. Pittsburgh Penguins - Jakub Vrana
23. Colorado  Avalanche - Connor Bleackley
24. Anaheim Ducks - Travis Sanheim
25. Boston Bruins - Nick Schmaltz
26. Montreal Canadiens - Ryan Macinnis
27. Chicago Blackhawks - Roland McKeown
28. Tampa Bay (from New York Rangers) Nikita Scherbak
29. Los Angeles Kings - Vladislav Kamenev
30. New Jersey Devils - Anton Karlsson

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TPS Mock Draft

The 2014 NHL Draft will be held on Friday so it's time to pump out my annual mock draft. As always, this is not the order that I would take the players but rather what my predictions are for how it could unfold in Philadelphia. 

Feel free to weigh in with your criticisms in the comments section. The fun begins after the jump. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

New fighting rule sucker punches AJHL

A rule change to Junior A hockey for the upcoming season has left owners in the Alberta Junior Hockey League feeling like they've been fed so many rights they're begging for a left. Hockey Canada has imposed a new one fight rule for Junior A hockey across the country, meaning if you drop the gloves, you get the gate.  
read more....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Jarry Leaves Lasting Impression in Portland

A gesture from Edmonton Oil Kings goaltender Tristan Jarry to a young boy helped create new fans from the most unlikely place on Earth; Portland. 

The night was May 9th. The Oil Kings and Portland Winterhawks had just competed fiercely for 60 minutes in the 5th game of their epic WHL Final. The game was at the Moda Center in front of nearly 11,000 ridiculously passionate fans who did all they could that night to urge their team to victory. But it was the visiting team from Edmonton that prevailed, a 3-2 win giving the eventual WHL champions their first lead in the series. 

Jarry was unreal in the game. The Penguins 2nd rounder stopped 37 of 39 shots, many of which appeared to be sure goals. The Oil Kings netminder was name a game star for his effort which set the stage for the big moment many never saw. 

The rest of the story after the jump.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Winterhawks erase pair of 3 goal leads-force game 7

Portland celebrates the game winner
that has forced a game 7
Monday in Portland
Twice the Edmonton Oil Kings had the Portland Winterhawks down by 3 goals in what could have been a WHL Championship clinching game.  But twice the ‘Hawks battled back.  Once to within a goal and once to tie it completely, then win it on a sharp angled shot from Keegan Iverson 7:23 into overtime.

A stunned and loud and nearly full Rexall Place was in disbelief, much like the Oil Kings themselves that they squandered such opportunities.  Portland meanwhile celebrated as they should.  A pardon.  A stay of execution.  A do over after twice being left for dead in game 6....more thoughts after the jump. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Gutsy Comeback Has Oil Kings Back In Final

The Oil Kings were down 2-0 in the series and 2-0 in game 3 that was just 3:30 old.  It wasn't looking good for the 3 time Eastern Conference champions and one might have wondered why Head Coach Derek Laxdall wouldn't call a time out??? 

The bench boss said post game he wanted to see if his club would sink or swim, and while at times it looked like a dod paddle, they finally smoothed out the stroke and looked like the team that hasn't yet lost on Rexall ice in the playoffs. 

Their strategy seemed simple, get shots on Corbin Boes.  Make him make saves and beat you.  It worked as the home side fired 19 shots at Portland's pipe man and while they still trailed after 20 minutes, they skated off the ice feeling good about their push back. 

In the middle frame Henrik Samuelsson put away a pretty pass from Curtis Lazar to get the Kings on the board.  Then just after a Samuelsson penalty, Luke Bertolucci- known more for his checking ability - snuck in on a breakaway.  After being pushed down by Matt Dumba he regained control and with more moves then Michael Jackson scored a Thriller on Corbin Boes tying the game at 2.  

From there Edmonton was forced to deal with some adversity.  One a Griffin Reinhart penalty kill.  I was really impressed with the captain's composure in handling the penalty and I think that calmness spread throughout the team.  Also a disallowed Samuelsson goal review that took forever and momentum. 

 The point is they got through it all and Edgars Kulda scored the go ahead goal for the team's first lead of the series, one they wouldn't give up despite a furious push from Portland down the stretch.  The Hawks are a team that makes you think they can score every time they have the puck when they have a man advantage, and Matt Dumba had a point blank chance to tie it up but fired high and wide. 

The win gives Edmonton belief that they can compete after Portland mostly dominated games one and two, and for the Hawks you know they'll be charged up even more for game 4 Wednesday night.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

Brendan Leipsic Suspended

With 302 points in 261 regular season games, it's obvious that Brendan Leipsic can play. He's also scored 73 points in 76 playoff games so he's a guy you can depend on when it counts. And with a total of 468 career penalty minutes on his WHL resumé, the 5'10, 177 lb forward has a proven track record of "getting involved".

Everyone has an opinion on Leipsic; those that dislike him are mostly opposing players. I can tell you from speaking with them that there are a number of non-players around the league who aren't fans either - executives, coaches, support staff, media. They say he's cocky and arrogant, a dirty player who cheap shots guys then "gets tough once a linesman has stepped in to save him".

Personally, and I've said this many, many times on The Pipeline Show, Brendan Leipsic can play on my team any day. He's tenacious, he's talented and he not only "knows the role" but he thrives doing it. That's not always easy to find. 

Sure he's undersized and who knows if he'll play in the NHL but there is ability and determination there. I've always said he reminds me of Boston's Brad Marchand and I still feel that way.

But what he did late on Friday in a 7-3 game was not something anyone likes to see. A hot topic at Saturday night's Oil Kings / Tigers game was the spearing major given to the Portland forward. The video and my thoughts on the suspension after the jump.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Edmonton Vs. Portland: The Rubber Match

For a 3rd straight year the Portland Winterhawks and Edmonton Oil Kings will meet for the Ed Chynoweth Cup.  Each has a title in the last 2 years and have built up a healthy dose of dislike, even hatred for each other.  

Portland will likely be the favourite on paper, but outside of Oregon most will be pulling for the Oil Kings as the Winterhawks have made few friends with their rule breaking actions in recent years.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

2014 Draft Blog: Jordan Papirny Pt.3

Earlier this season our radio audience and blog readers were introduced to Brandon Wheat Kings netminder Jordan Papirny. The Edmonton product was an In Studio guest on The Pipeline Show last summer then began writing his draft blog in the fall. Chapter One was released back in September. Chapter Two soon followed in October.

Then, as sometimes happens, the player got too busy, needed to stay focused, and the blogging suddenly stopped. It wasn't hard to figure out why as Papirny began playing more and more. 

As the playoffs began and the wheat Kings advanced past Regina, it finally gave us a chance to watch Papirny live and in person; the goaltender did not start either regular season game at Rexall Place between. It was well worth the wait as the Papirny put on a show despite an endless assault by the Oil Kings. 

Here now is Chapter Three from Jordan Papirny...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tigers' push back not enough - Oil Kings lead 2-0

The Medicine Hat Tigers were  a much better hockey team in game 2 of the WHL's Eastern Conference final and might have caught the Oil Kings a little sleepy on Easter Sunday, but it still wasn't enough to pull even in the series.  Edmonton had enough skill, goaltending and defending to ward off the Tigers in a 3-1 victory at Rexall Place.  

After a scoreless first period that featured chances for both sides, it appeared that Dyson Mayo opened the scoring 34 seconds into the middle frame - which would have been the 5th from the blue line so far in the short series - but the goal was later given to Curtis Lazar, who also scored the series' first goal.  

Later in the period with the Oil Kings down a man after a having 6 players on the ice, Edgars Kulda showed dogged determination and would not be outworked for the puck as he set up Curtis Lazar.  The Senator pick dangled past Marek Langhamer and tucked in his 2nd of the game and 6th of the playoffs for a 2-0 lead.  

But unlike Friday night when Edmonton walked all over the Tigers, Medicine Hat pushed back.  On a power play Chad Butcher zipped home a wicked wrister off the bar and past Tristan Jarry.  That made it 2-1 and the Tigers tested Jarry several more times in the period outshooting Edmonton 15-12, trailing by one heading to the 3rd. 

But that's where Edmonton buttoned things up.  They were tighter in their own end, forced turnovers and putting up 17 shots to the Tigers 7 with Kulda salting it away with and empty net goal.  

There was a little rough stuff near the end as Tyler Lewington and Henrik Samuelsson tried to fight and Jacob Doty taking a slashing penalty with 5 seconds to go, and you should expect that to continue Tuesday night in Medicine Hat. 

The Tigers will have atmosphere and last change on their side and showed on Sunday they can skate with the Oil Kings, but like Prince Albert and Brandon before them they'll need to be much better to get back in the series. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Oil Kings Nearly Perfect in Battle Royal with Brandon

The Edmonton Oil Kings wasted little time establishing their dominance in game one of the battle royal between the Oil Kings and Wheat Kings, and never really gave Brandon a chance to reply en route to a 5-0 win Thursday night at Rexall Place.

Edmonton got the ball rolling thanks to a smart, simple play from Edgars Kulda who chipped and chased down a puck then set up Brett Pollock for the games opening goal just 1:50 in.  35 ticks of the clock later another Oil King import Mads Ellar grabbed a lose puck and slid his first of the playoffs past Brandon tender and Edmonton native Jordan Papirny for a 2-0 lead as the home team outshot the visitors 12-3.

The second period was more of the same as the Oil Kings peppered Papirny with 19 shots, beating him twice on goals from Ashton Sautner and Kulda for a 4-0 40 minute lead.

Henrik Samuelson got off the playoff schnide in the final frame zipping one under the bar to finish out the scoring.  Edmonton tripled the Wheat Kings in shots at 45-15 and went 2-7 on the power play while killing off both Brandon man advantage situations.

It was a truly impressive effort by Edmonton while Brandon will need to regroup or this series won't last long.

Of note, Brandon goalie and Edmonton product Curtis Honey didn't dress.  Head Coach/G.M. Kelly McCrimmon told me after the game Honey was injured in practice recently and isn't available right now. The plan is to call someone up until Honey is ready to return. He did dress in the first round as back up.

Pollock now has 4 goals in 5 playoff games.  Tristan Jarry wasn't busy in the Oil Kings net but did make a couple of point blank saves to preserve the shut out.  Curtis Lazar picked up 2 helpers, but his next goal will tie him for the all time playoff lead in Edmonton.

Game 2 goes Saturday at noon Edmonton time.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

WHL Playoff Predictions

Back in September I posted my predictions for both the East and West WHL conferences. 

Looking back now, not too bad; 7 of 8 correct playoff teams in the East including Edmonton, Calgary and Swift Current in their correct seeding. In the West, 6 of 8 playoff teams.

Every year there are a couple teams I badly underestimate and a couple I overestimate. This year I don't think anyone predicted that Lethbridge would implode like they did and I certainly expected better from Kamloops. Tri-City and Prince Albert both made the playoffs but I expected more from both clubs. 

Now it's time for the playoffs so let's get right to the first round predictions...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

2014 Draft Blog: Brendan Perlini Pt.2

One of the draft eligible players that seems to have some growing buzz around him these days is Niagara IceDogs forward Brendan Perlini. 

We first spoke with Perlini on the October 29th edition of TPS after which I immediately extended the invite to blog with us this year. Brendan quickly agreed and not long after, we received Part 1 of his guest blog series. It was a terrific read bringing us all up to speed on his background in England, his strong family roots within the game and his outlook at the year ahead. 

Today we are happy to bring you the second chapter of the blog written by Brendan Perlini. That comes after the jump. 

I also wanted to direct you to a NHL.com Perlini story written by my friend Aaron Vickers and another from The Hockey Writers, both coming out today.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2014 Draft Blog: Tanner MacMaster Pt.2

We first heard from Camrose Kodiaks forward Tanner MacMaster back in September during the 2013 AJHL Showcase. The talented forward appeared on The Pipeline Show that weekend (Listen Here) and then accepted and offer to blog with us this season. You can read Tanner's first entry to the blog HERE.

Three months have passed and Tanner has put a few more thoughts down for fans to read. The Boston College recruit continues to lead the Kodiaks in scoring having scored 11 goals and 29 assists for 40 points through 46 AJHL games this year. 

The second entry to the blog courtesy Tanner MacMaster comes after the jump.